A big part of my healthy living strategy is creating a chemical-free environment in my home. Scented products were the first category of potentially harmful things I eliminated because they contain so many toxic chemicals. the-problem-with-perfume-scented-products-make-us-sick.html
That was just the beginning. What?! Change is hard! I don't wanna. Go away stupid internet showing me all kinds of toxic chemicals lurking in products I've been using for years. I whined a while and complained to anyone within earshot about how hard it was to adjust my routine. Then I put on my big girl pants and got down to business. It didn't take much research to discover that processed food, household cleaners, cosmetics, and personal care items contain tons of harmful chemical ingredients including formaldehyde, preservatives, petroleum and coal tar derivatives, BHA, parabens, phthalates, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and artificial colors. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to fibromyalgia, lupus, a wide variety of autoimmune illnesses, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer.
Cleaning products are especially problematical because we spread them on surfaces all over our homes, get them on our skin, and breathe the toxic ingredients into our lungs where they circulate throughout the body with the potential to damage every organ in the body.
You can buy nontoxic laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, automatic dishwasher tabs, all-purpose spray cleaners, and other organic cleaners made by companies like Seventh Generation and Method at your favorite supermarket or big box store. I prefer versions of these products that are scent free since scented products may contain up to 300 harmful chemical ingredients.
While I was muddling about trying to find less toxic products, I discovered something really awesome. I can make my own cleaning products from inexpensive ingredients like plain white vinegar and baking soda. Here's a simple recipe for all-purpose cleaner.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER
Mix equal parts of plain white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake to mix. Label the container so you will remember what's in there. Spray on the surface you want to clean. That's it!
Some folks like to add a drop or two of essential oil to their homemade cleaners. This can be risky because pure organic essential oils can cause skin and eye irritation and synthetic essential oils may contain artificial preservatives and other toxic ingredients. I think it's safer to skip the scent.
Use the all-purpose cleaner on countertops, mirrors, appliances, chrome, faucets, and anything else you would normally clean with a commercial all-purpose cleaner. Spray the solution on the surface you want to clean. Wipe it off with paper towels or a micro fiber cloth. No rinsing needed. Be sure to use a micro fiber cloth when cleaning mirrors, glass, and chrome. It will leave them clean and shiny without leaving behind paper residue.
Interesting factoid: Vinegar contains 5 % acetic acid which kills bacteria and viruses. Vinegar is such an effective germ killer that it is used in some hospital high risk neonatal units to protect vulnerable newborns from exposure to both germs and harsh chemicals.
What is your favorite nontoxic cleaning product? Do you have a great recipe for making a nontoxic cleaning product at home? Please share your faves in comments. Here's to a chemical-free healthy life for all!